February 21st, 2011

5 Vegetables That You Don’t Need to Peel

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Groovy Green Livin vegetables

Vegetables are gorgeous- the bright colors, the crunch and the variety. The benefits from eating vegetables stack up quickly: reducing your risk of certain chronic diseases, keeping your weight in check and boosting your immune system. Eating vegetables is one of the best things you can do for your diet and your body.

I recently started eating  most vegetables whole, raw and with the peel on.  Sometimes they don’t look as pretty  (especially carrots), but the taste is sweet and delicious. The peel stays put so I can reap the full benefit from the veggies-lots of fiber and nutrients.  Nature made them that way, and let’s face it- peeling is a pain.

There are a few situations where you SHOULD peel vegetables:

  • If the outer skin or peel has a bitter taste.
  • When the produce isn’t organic and could be laden with heavy doses of pesticides.
  • If your digestive system can’t handle peels.

If you are buying organic and the peel is edible and tastes OK-resist the temptation to peel. Most likely you are peeling away important nutrients.

5 vegetables that don’t need to be peeled

Photo used under Creative Commons from Color Line


Most nutrients in a carrot are actually in, or just below the skin. Carrots are an excellent source of carotene and other phenolic compounds, which are both antioxidants. Carrots’ antioxidant compounds help protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer and also promote good vision, especially night vision. We just cut scrub whole carrots and cut the ends off and they are ready to eat.


Cucumbers are low in calories and high in vitamin K, anti-oxidants and potassium. Cucumber peel is a good source of dietary fiber that helps reduce constipation and offers some protection against colon cancers.

Photo used under Creative Commons from Larry Hoffman


Beets are full of phytonutrients called betalains. Betanin and vulgaxanthin have been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support.  We slice our beets and roast them with a little olive oil and salt. If the ends of the beet are a mess it is easy enough to slice a little off, but peel on is the way to go.


Photo used under Creative Commons from Nimish Gogri

This is one vegetable that looks much prettier with the skin on. The skin of purple eggplants is packed with a powerful antioxidant called nasunin, one of a type of flavonoid called anthocyanins present in many fruits and vegetables with red, blue and purple hues (berries, beets and red cabbage, to name a few). Choose the purple varieties when you shop, and leave the skin on.


The potatoes skin has loads of fiber and vitamins and helps the potato hold on to its essential nutrients when it’s cooked. The skin is also chock full of vitamin K, potassium, copper and iron. My kids love potatoes with the skin, sliced thinly and roasted until brown and crunchy with olive oil and a bit of salt.

Each of these vegetables just need a good scrub and they are ready to eat. Eating the whole vegetable creates less waste and is all around better for you.

Do you peel your vegetables?  Are you willing to try eating them with the peel on?

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*Top photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Wright

44 Responses to “5 Vegetables That You Don’t Need to Peel”

  1. Thanks for this! I had no idea eating the peel of a beet was OK – tastes OK that is. And for some reason I always peel our carrots – even though I buy organic. Habit I guess, but I hate it. Thanks for freeing me of that little chore!

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Earth Mama, Lori Popkewitz Alper. Lori Popkewitz Alper said: New Post: 5 Vegetables That You Don’t Need to Peel http://t.co/F1cmImz […]

  3. Great post! It really does make sense to keep the peels on, especially with veggies that are white/beige on the inside, e.g. cucumbers, eggplant, and potatoes, since bright colours = vitamins and nutrients!

  4. It is a chore, isn’t it! My son takes carrots for lunch and snack every day and it was so freeing to stop peeling. He loves them unpeeled. As for beets, I think they are delicious with the skin on. Let me know what you think.

  5. These pictures are gorgeous…
    and I love when you “lets face it, peeling is a pain”…makes the whole article that much more feesible and so relatable!!

  6. Had dinner w a restaurateur the other night and he brought beets & yams cut into fine spiral strings with a commercial peeler. Said they leave the skins on & all. Tasted delicious! I think there’s a home version of the peeler too.

  7. I am sure they were delicious! The “peeler” cuts the vegetables into spiral strings? I would love one of those-would make the vegetables fun to eat!

  8. I do peel carrots and potatoes if they’re rough, but I save the peels to make stock with. I’ve never eaten beets unpeeled, or roasted for that matter. My only beet recipe is a cold borscht, which is delicious, but chilly when it’s 40 degrees outside. I’ll pick some up to roast soon.

    I just came across the ‘Spiralizer’ tool you mentioned in a raw food cookbook. It looks like a fun toy, but I think I probably have enough kitchen gadgets!

  9. I found you at the new Boston Parent Bloggers Big Tent site! Great article, I always peeled the beets but lately I’m just buying the vacuum sealed ones that are already steamed at Trader Joe’s, saves so much time. 🙂

  10. Hi Anastasia! So glad you found me. I love the beets from TJ’s too. They’re so easy to use. Unpeeled beets are delicious- give them a try. I just checked out your site too-it’s great 🙂

  11. What a great idea-making stock with the carrot and potato peel! Roasted beets are da bomb-so delicious. If I decide to try out the spiralizer tool I’ll let you know-it does sound like fun!

  12. […] 5 Vegetables That You Don’t Need to Peel 6 Surprising Things You Can Recycle Green Your Kitchen in 4 Easy Steps […]

  13. Oh my heavens, the beets!! I hate peeling beets! This just made my day!

  14. So glad Michelle! Beets are delicious with the skin on.

  15. Thanks for this – always heard that all the ground should be peeled (yet we eat potatoes with skins) so I’m glad carrots are the same. Have wasted so much time peeling them but they are provided complete with skin for the children to at for their break time snack, so it made me enquire!

  16. Good article! I was wondering if I needed to peel some of those tougher root veggies like beets or rutabagas. I usually leave the peel on for the additional nutrition (as long as the veggie is organic)… I’m going to continue that!

  17. I make vegetable stock for a friend that is vegan. after I strain of the stock I put all the pulpy vegetablees I a my food processor and blend it up. then freeze then in quart baggies. my friend then adds the pulp to help thicken soups or puts it in spaghetti sauce so the kids will get more veggies in their diet as they hate vegetables. I just bought a spiralizer as I have a couple of family members that have celiacs disease (gluten free diet). love this blog.

  18. I never peel veggies. not only the nutritional value but some add texture and color making them more appealing.

  19. Thanks Rose. I have to try a Spiralizer. Everyone’s been telling me how amazing they are!

  20. […] Cucumbers are low in calories and high in vitamin K, anti-oxidants and potassium. Cucumber peel is a good source of dietary fiber that helps reduce constipation and offers some protection against colon cancers. […]

  21. Thank you for sharing such an informative article. As we already know, vegetables are rich in vitamins and proteins. But it’s better to eat some veggies as whole. There are some veggies which we should eat with its skin because veggie skins also have many vitamins. And we are not bound to peel every vegetable we eat.
    ugly recently posted..How ‘Eating Your Greens’ Can Help You Live Long and ProsperMy Profile

  22. I didn’t know that eating cucumber with peel is more nutritious than peeling it.
    But I eat more peeled than unpeeled.

  23. I just don’t like the skin of cucumbers…too bitter. Interested in how you roast your beets. We’ve only eaten them bought, pickled in a jar.

  24. So simple Mary Lou. I roast them with the skin on. Cut the beets into cube sized pieces, add olive oil and a bit of salt. Roast! Let me know how they turn out.

  25. I don’t believe in peeling veggies and was thrilled to find this information! There may be some who cannot digest the peel, but we’re fine with it. “Go Organic As Far As You Can!” Thank you!

  26. Glad I stumbled across this article from a couple years ago. My wife loves to peel a couple of these and I’ve never really understood why (cucumbers). I may ask her to take a read… hope it turns out okay.

    Thanks for the article!
    Norman Brown recently posted..Best Natural Produce Cleaner For Fruits & Vegetables.My Profile

  27. Good luck! Not everyone loves veggies with the peel left on. We go through waves over here. Right now I’m partially peeling our cucumbers.

  28. Carrots… “promote good vision, especially night vision”.
    This is a total myth propagated by the RAF in World War 2. The RAF were using radar, a new and highly secret invention at the time, and so invented the story that pilots ate carrots as a cover-up to explain why they could ‘see in the dark’.

  29. […] antioxidant which can be converted into vitamin A in the body to help maintain healthy skin. We never peel our carrots, just give them a good wash and they are ready to […]

  30. I am trying to eat my veggies unpeeled but it goes against everything I have learned,both historically and gastronomically.I can’t imagine going out to a fine dining restaurant and eating unpeeled veggies!

  31. It takes a while to get used to Liz, but it’s worth it! I’ve been to restaurants where their veggies are unpeeled. I think it’s becoming more and more common.

  32. Thanks for this. I’m cooking a beet sliced but with its skin intact as I type. I suspect most vegetables aren’t only more nutritious but also taste better with their skin on. I know for certain that coconut bread tastes much better when I use grated coconut from which the skin has NOT been peeled.

  33. Hi Wayne, I think that most vegetables do taste better with the skin! Beets are a perfect example. I roast them all the time and never peel them. Interesting that you use coconut with the skin. I would never think to do that.

  34. My mother always said that you had to peel carrots to avoid hookworm. What do you think?

  35. I’ve never heard that Stewart. I eat my carrots with the peel almost daily.

  36. Sometimes, I don’t like swallowing cucumber peels. I chew them well, suck out the water and spit out the dry residue. Will I still get vitamin K this way?

  37. Good question, Eliza. You will still get some Vitamin K from a raw, peeled cucumber. You can also add carrots, cauliflower, beans, zucchini and cabbage to your diet for additional Vitamin K.

  38. Can you eat the skin on celaric

  39. Good question, Shannon. You can certainly eat the skin, but it could be tough and chewy.

  40. Thank you so very much.. I love fresh vegetables and fruits.. I had know idea how much vitamins was in them..

  41. I now reveal The Carrot Rule, or Why Carrots With the Peel Off are More Nutritious Than Ones With the Peel On.

    Because the ones without the peel are the ones I actually eat. (Carrot peels are bitter :p )

  42. Thank you for this truth.

  43. […] Our BBQ gets a lot of action during the summer months. It’s so easy to grill and create a meal that everyone likes. While we’re waiting for the grill to fire up we generally put out a few healthy snacks to keep everyone happy. Cut veggies are a family favorite. We mix it up with different arrangements and unique vegetables. […]

  44. […] carrots (unpeeled), celery and Glutino […]

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About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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